Finance and econimics
Barbie at 50
In the pink
The versatile pink princess has moved with the times
Mulling another career change
FROWNED upon by feminists but fought over by five-year-olds, Barbie has been a victim of controversy as much as fashion ever since her birth, 50 years ago this month.
The charge-sheet against the pint-sized piece of plastic is long.
She teaches the supremacy of looks over substance;
she stereotypes outdated gender roles;
she celebrates an impossible body ideal;
and she spreads platinum hair, plastic limbs and a nauseating shade of pink into households from Honolulu to Hamburg.
Yet could it be that Barbie,
far from being a relic from another era, is in fact a woman for our troubled economic times?
For a start, she may benefit from having a strong, reassuring brand in a downturn.
Although global Barbie sales fell by 9% in 2008, battering profits at Mattel, her maker, Barbie topped the 2008 survey by America's National Retail Federation of the most popular girls' toys, relegating even the Nintendo Wii to fifth place.
2008年，虽然全球的芭比娃娃销量下降了9 ％ ，消弱了她的生产商美泰公司的利润，但在美国全国零售商联合会评选的最受欢迎的女孩玩具中名列榜首，而任天堂Wii降级至第五位。
And she has just seen off her hipper rivals, the Bratz.
After a long legal battle, a federal judge recently ordered their maker, MGA, to transfer the trademark rights to Mattel.
Barbie is once again the queen of the toyshop.
In previous recessions toy sales held up reasonably well, as parents cut back elsewhere.
As the recession deepens, Barbie's conservative values are also back in vogue.
Amid concern about rampant individualism and excess, she evokes a simpler, gentler era.
And since staying in is the new going out, little girls will have more time for old-fashioned play.
Barbie also embodies career flexibility, a valuable attribute in difficult times.
Having starting out as a fashion model in a black-and-white striped bathing suit, she tiptoed into other professions as fast as they were invented.
She was an air hostess in the 1960s as mass aviation took off, an aerobics instructor with leg-warmers in the 1980s, and even a black presidential candidate four years before Barack Obama.
Time for a new Barbie, dressed as a distressed-debt investor?
Versatile actors can play all kinds of roles.
The mayor will try to accord the controversy over the housing scheme.
The indirect democracy, the representative government, is based on the principle of popular supremacy.
Platinum is used to make jewelry.
Men and women have four limbs; two arms and two legs.